Merck Triples Net Income to $1.7 Billion

Sales from emerging markets accounted for about 17% of sales in Q3.

Beating expectations thanks to big increases in sales of popular drugs and a favorable exchange rate, pharmaceuticals giant Merck said on Oct. 28 that it had tripled its net income to $1.7 billion.

Last year's net income during the same period stood at $342 million. Global sales saw an 8% increase to $12 billion, besting market predictions of $11.6 billion.

The company said foreign exchange during the quarter had a 5% positive effect on global sales performance.

It also saw strong sales of drugs Januvia (sitagliptin for type 2 diabetes), Singulair (montelukast to prevent breathing difficulties), Janumet (sitagliptin/metformin for type 2 diabetes), anti-HIV medicine Isentress (raltegravir), human papillomavirus vaccine Gardasil and shingles vaccine Zostavax.

Sales from emerging markets accounted for about 17% of pharmaceutical sales in the quarter, according to Merck.

"Merck once again delivered a strong quarter... coupling top line growth and strong expense management to report an 11 percent increase to the bottom line," said Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier.

"Three consecutive quarters of top and bottom line growth demonstrate our ability to consistently perform while at the same time make the strategic investments necessary for the future. We remain focused on driving innovation and value for our customers and shareholders over the long term."

Merck has been seeking to achieve $3.5 billion in annual savings through its merger with Schering-Plough, one of several mega-mergers in the pharmaceuticals industry in recent years.

New Jersey-based Merck is independent from German pharmaceuticals maker Merck KGaA, although the two share the same historical roots.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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